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How to Get Content Ideas from Google Analytics
Content marketing is the most cost-effective online strategy on the planet. In the traditional advertising world, it’s nearly impossible for small companies to compete with the big boys. This is because access to audiences through the traditional channels is tightly controlled by a handful of large media companies. In the traditional advertising space, you rent attention from other companies. Big companies with larger budgets obviously have an easier time than the mom and pop’s.
On the web, this isn’t the case (yet). While the Fortune 500 try to wrap their hands around the concept of content marketing and what their lawyers will and will not allow them to write, tweet, and publish, small companies are busy turning their expertise and know-how into killer content. They’re publishing the content they produce all over the web and, in some cases, establishing a lead that is going to be difficult to reduce – even with lots of money.
Sounds great, right?
If you own a small business and you’re interested in growing it, you should be “all in” with content marketing. There are only two problems. You’re not sure what to write about and you hate writing! Set aside the fact that you hate writing for a moment. By the way, if you really hate writing or you’re a terrible writer, – contact us! Our professional copywriters would love to learn more about your business and become the authentic voice of your company!
Let’s focus on the challenge of what to write about.
Enter Google Analytics
If you’ve spent more than a few minutes on our website prior to reading this blog post, you probably picked up on the fact that we love data-driven marketing. Well, not only can tools like Google Analytics help you quantify your marketing ROI, you can also use GA to improve your content marketing. In this post, I’m going to give you three easy ways to use Google Analytics as a content marketing idea generator. Hold onto your hats ’cause here we go!
Google Analytics Content Marketing Tip #1
Perhaps the easiest way to use Google Analytics to supercharge your content marketing efforts is to see which keywords visitors are using to find you. Although Google has encrypted keyword data for searchers signed into Google products resulting in a (not provided) seen in your top keyword reports, you can still get some great insights from the standard keyword report in GA.
Here’s how you find the keywords people are using to find your site:
Login to Google Analytics (obvious, right – you’d be blown away at the questions we get in response to some of our blog posts!). Look for Traffic Sources in the left-sidebar navigation. Under traffic sources, you should see Search, click it. Then, under Search, click Organic. The output should be hundreds of different keywords people used to find your website.
What you see should look something like this:
If you only see a handful of terms, this usually indicates that you haven’t invested much in SEO. You might try increasing the date range. The default in Google Analtyics is the last 30 days, try opening up the date range to the last 3 months or even the last year. If you still don’t get many keywords or most of the keywords are your company name, you’ve might have a major optimization opportunity on your hands. Drop us a line and let us check it out for you.
Now what do you do?
Pick a keyword and start writing (yes, it really is almost that simple)! Here’s an example. Let’s say I go into Blue Corona’s Google Analytics account and run this report and one of the keywords I see toward the bottom of the list is, “best ways to grow your hvac business.” I might turn around and write a blog post called, “The 3 Best Ways to Grow Your HVAC Business.”
Google Analytics Content Marketing Tip #2
The second way to use Google Analytics to boost your content marketing efforts is to select the Advanced Segment “Non-paid Search Traffic” and look at the Landing Pages report using the Keywords as a Secondary Dimension. To find this report, look again at the left-side navigation in Google Analytics. Click Content > Landing Pages. Above the chart, click the button that says “Secondary dimension” and select Keyword. To eliminate branded terms as well as instances of (not set) and (not provided), you might also want to create an Advanced Filter and remove these.
The output should look something like this:
Again, if you have a smaller site, you’ll want to select a wider date range before analyzing the report. The data in this report will show you which pages on your website are attracting organic search traffic and show you the keywords for which each page is ranking. Now, to get the exact rank of the page for any given keyword, you’ll have to use your SEO software (you do have SEO software, don’t you?).
What you’re looking for are pages with entrances from relevant keywords, but where the page does not rank #1 on Google. You see, content marketing and search engine optimization aren’t just about writing and publishing new pages. You also have to continually work to promote (and sometimes re-optimize) previously published pages. Re-optimizing a page can mean adding a new section of content to the page (perhaps to speak more directly to a different set of target keywords) or simply adjusting a title tag, meta description, and page headings. You can promote the exisistance of a page to search engines by sharing the content via social media updates, linking to the page from other popular pages of your website, or perhaps by referencing it in a blog post on your site or on another company’s website (what we call a guest blog post).
Google Analytics Content Marketing Tip #3
One of the most productive ways to get writing ideas from Google Analytics is to create a special “Questions” Advanced Segment and use this segment to identify and answer the questions of your prospective customers. Of course, you could just sift through the Keywords report described above, but depending on the number of keywords you have, that can be a big fat waste of time. Create an Advanced Segment once and you’re done – you can see all your prospects’ questions in a matter of minutes.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Click on Advanced Segments
2. Click New Custom Segment
3. Click the box next to Include
4. Find Keyword and enter a keyword that would indicate a question (ex. “how”)
5. Click the box next to Keyword and select “Begins With”
6. Click “Add OR Statement” and add another keyword that would indicate a question (ex. “is”)
It should look something like this:
Repeat this process until you have all the words that would kick off a question in your new Advanced Segment (who, what, how, is, can, etc.). Now, with your new segment selected, go back to the Traffic > Search > Organic Keyword Report.
You should see something like this:
Not many years ago, people searched using very generic keywords. For example, someone looking for instructions to clean a water cooler, might have searched, “water cooler.” Back then, we suggested that our clients review their Google Analytics data and brain storm the “implied” questions connected with every broad keyword.
Today, things are easier. Google controls the vast majority of search market share and they’ve done a fantastic job of training people to be specific. Someone living in Bethesda, MD in need of a plumber is much more likely to search, “plumber in Bethesda” or “Bethesda plumber” than they are to search “plumber” with no geographic signifier.
Similarly, someone looking for an answer typically enters their question into Google (like you see in the screenshot). If you want to increase your company’s organic search visibility as well as the leads and sales you receive from the web, all you have to do is create this Advanced Segment, look for questions relevant to your business where your landing page isn’t #1 on Google and answer the question with a new page on your site (either a blog post, FAQ page, etc.).
Get Started Yesterday
One of the most amazingly awesome things about online marketing is the fact that small “mom and pop” companies can compete with – and even get a lead on – the mega brands. If you own business and you have a limited marketing budget, you need to be “all-in” with content marketing. If you haven’t already started using content to establish and promote your company as an authority, what are you waiting for? Hopefully this post has shown you how you can use Google Analytics to get some great content ideas and intelligently adjust your efforts for maximum results.
Now, back to the problem of hating to write. If you’d rather focus on running your business than writing for it, drop us a line – we can help!
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
View more blogs by Ben Landers